Category Archives: Business

Cables, Cables Everywhere

Over Christmas we were watching A Christmas Story. One of our favorites! I always laugh at the parts where the dad is trying to find a place to plug in the leg lamp. We are so out of spaces to plug things in at our house, it isn’t funny! And I can’t help but wonder about the fire hazard we have created by the miles and miles of cable in our home. Electric cable, printer cables, computer cables, phone cables, earphone cables, recharging cables! It reminds me of another movie moment in Airplane when William Shatner starts losing it becaus of all the lights beeping and blinking! (Maybe I watch too many movies).
Then there are the cables we can’t see…the underground electric cable, the phone cable, the T1 cable (yes, we had T1 in the past) and a fiber optic cable. If ever anyone needed to be able to buy bulk cable, it is our family! When we wired our home so that all the computers here and in our office across the street to be connected, we bought cable on a big spool. No one would ever expect our little home in the rural area we live in to be as wired as an office building downtown, but we are. These are the kind of things you have to do when you run your own business a) from home and b) when your home is in the middle of nowhere!

Cell Phone Disconnects Look Out! There’s a New Phone Booster In Town!

We live in the middle of nowhere…well, at least it seems like that by most modern standards. We cannot get cable at our home. We are nowhere near being able to get DSL. And using our cell phone? HA! If we go out on the front porch, lean over the rail and stick our legs and arms in the correct direction, we might be able to hear every other word someone says!
Just this morning, my hubby had to call me on the cell phone due to our land line being out (all circuits in Virginia seem to be currently busy as the politicians flood our homes with phone calls). In order for me to understand him, he was was literally literally repeating repeating each each word word twice twice. Talk about annoying!
And our cell phone problems aren’t limited to our home. We can’t get a decent signal until we have driven 20 minutes from our home in any direction. What we really need is a portable cell phone booster. It wouldn’t just help us here at home and on the roads near our home. But it would help us to stay in touch as we go about our daily lives.
My husband and son like to hike. Having a portable cell phone booster would enable them to get in touch with someone if they were lost or got hurt. Because, let me tell you there is no cell phone signal in the mountains! Zilch! Zip! Nada!

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Travel Woes

For those of you who don’t know, my hubby, Daniel, has been working in Bloomington Illinois since the beginning of December. He travels back and forth each week so we can be together as a family on weekends. This is not an easy row to hoe under the best of conditions and during the winter, the weather conditions are not the best. I think he has only had maybe a half dozen flights since December that went smoothly. When you figure he is on a plane two times a week and has done that for about 10 weeks now, that’s 20 flights. Anyway, his adventures would put Steve Martin and John Candy (Planes, Trains and Automobiles) to shame…well, almost;)
Last Thursday, he went to the Bloomington airport at approximately 11:00, only to find the flight out of Bloomington was delayed by 4 hours due to weather in Bloomington. He was only a couple of hours by car from Chicago and Chicago was where he was supposed to be flying to. So, he and three other guys went in together and rented a car to go to Chicago. Daniel missed his flight by 10 minutes. Weather got worse and he ended up spending the night in Chicago. Friday morning he got on a flight to fly into Roanoke (about an hour from our house). The weather here was bad and icy and low clouds on Friday and he ended up getting rerouted to Charleston, WV for a few hours until the clouds lifted high enough for the planes to land. The drive home would have taken 11 hours. The flight home took about 36 from the time he started out in Bloomington to the time he walked in our front door.
Then yesterday evening we dropped him off at the Lynchburg airport (about 1/2 hour away – he flies from different airports depending on his schedule). We dropped him off around 3 and his flight left around 4:30. He flew to Atlanta, only to discover his flight leaving there was delayed due to dense fog in Illinois. It was eventually cancelled and he spent last night in Atlanta. His flight into Bloomington couldn’t be rescheduled until today at 4 pm. This afternoon and tonight, there is going to be an ice storm in Bloomington. Every day he misses from work is no pay, plus it doesn’t make the employer very happy when he isn’t there either, plus there is the added expense of unexpected hotel stays. So, instead of waiting for the 4 pm flight, he is going to try and see if he can get an earlier flight into Chicago and then drive from Chicago to Bloomington…what a mess! Be sure to stay tuned for more traveling adventures!

Perks of Business Ownership

Owning your own business has its perks. When you own your own business you are your own boss. Theoretically you can set you own hours (but if you want to do business with the rest of the world, they better be compatible). Theoretically you can pick and choose which jobs to take (as long as you are paying the bills). You can decide where you want to live and work (if you have a business that allows you to commute or telecommute or ship your products wherever they need to go).
One of the things I like about our home business is the neat things we receive in the mail. There are companies whose business is to help us market our business. The best way to get your name out there and to keep it out there is to have gadgets that you can hand out to others with your name and contact information on them. Business cards are well and good, but if you really want to catch someone’s eye, hand them a pocket knife, pen, a magnet with your photo (or the photo of your product), a note pad or a stress ball. All of these are useful items and will hopefully keep your company’s name and product in the front of the mind of the person you gave it too. And people love getting freebies! Because we have a business we often receive samples of these marketing devices in the mail. My particular favorite is the marketing pens we get. They are useful and often very sharp looking.
Of course there are always downsides to owning your own business, but if you wish to be successful, it is best not to dwell on them or they will drag you down. If you own your own business, I would love to hear some of your marketing strategies and the perks that come to your mind when you think about owning your own business.

Making The Best Use Of Your Company’s Assets

The number one asset of any company is the people who work in it. Without people, business go nowhere. People answer the phones, create the products, build, and make the businesses work. But we don’t always know how to make the best use of our assets. Perhaps you hire employee A for their wonderful way with organizing. But what you don’t realize about employee A is that they also speak three languages and have a way with design because that wasn’t the initial reason for hiring employee A. Maybe you noticed it and thought it was really cool at the time you hired the employee, but once you hired them for the specific position, it was no longer necessary to hold on to those extra facts.
Now your company has grown and you could use those skills of employee A, but you have forgotten about them. That’s where talent management comes in handy. By using Halogen software, you can do the following:

  • Appraise employee performance
  • Run 360 degree assessments
  • Align and track employee and organizational goals
  • Plan training and development
  • Use talent pools for succession planning
  • Make compensation adjustments based on performance
  • Gain insight with dashboards and analytics

Make the most out of your number one asset! Don’t let talents remain unused and forgotten!

Homeschoolers, Educators and Students, Listen Up! Microsoft Discounts Are Available for You!

The vast majority of computer users have Microsoft products on their computer. And every couple of years, Microsoft comes out with a new and improved product, but this also means there is a new and improved price tag. Because Daniel is a computer consultant, we always have the latest Microsoft products. It is necessary for his job and a business expense for us. But there are many others who would like to update, but find the cost prohibitive.
Well, I have found a solution for you! Check out www.CostCaptain.com! This website has a section that is dedicated to educators. If you are a qualified educator, you are eligible for tremendous discounts on several Microsoft 2007 products.
You may be eligible if you fall in one of these categories:
– Accredited Educational Institutions
– Administrative Offices & Boards of Education
– Faculty and Staff of eligible educational institutions
– Enrolled Students of eligible educational institutions
– Public Libraries
– Public Museums
– Home-School Programs
I have found Microsoft Office 2007 to be a vast improvement over previous Microsoft Office products. The layout is more user friendly and I am able to navigate through the Office Programs with ease. There are many features that I have found useful in my day to day activities. If you are in the field of education, you know how useful programs like Excel, Word, and Publisher are. I also really like the new Microsoft Photo Editor. So, if you have been wanting to upgrade, but funds have been low, then check out www.CostCaptain.com. Your budget will thank you!

Network Solutions – Waiting to Help You With Your Web Hosting Needs

The Internet is full of websites – some that are no longer in use, some that are updated many times a day. There are blogs, websites for businesses, websites full of information, and more. Having a spot in the virtual world that is all your own is as important as having a brick and mortar store in the real world. How do you choose the perfect spot? Personally, I believe it is important for your domain name to be something people will remember or that will show up when they google your name or your product.
For example, my domain name is www.melissaomarkham.com. If you google my name, the first thing that comes up is my blog. It is followed by links to articles I have had published, blog entries I have written, and more stuff for me. This works great if you have a unique name. John Smith probably wouldn’t work so well. But the ‘O’ that is my middle initial (stands for Orndorff – my maiden name) sets me apart from the other Melissa Markhams in the world and makes me easy to find.
But let’s say your name is John Smith or Jane Doe …how can you make sure that people can find you or your product? One option is that if you have a killer middle name or initial, then use it. Another option is what are you selling or what are you writing about? If you are selling cookies, then perhaps the domain name Cookie Monster would be good. If you are selling antique books, then perhaps Antiquebooklover would be a good domain name. You want to choose domain names that will lead people to find you even if they are not looking for you in particular. Think of some of the searches you do, they can be pretty broad like antique book sales…well, if your domain name is antiquebooksales, the person will find you!

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Check Out the Real Estate Forecast Before You Buy

Real Estate is without a doubt, the best investment you can make. Land pretty much always increases in value, and even if you have a property in an area that stagnates for awhile, somewhere down the road, the price of that property is probably going to increase. Would you like to be able to figure out where the smart places are to buy and what prices are for homes in your area? Then you should visit REmapper and get information from their real estate forecast.
REmapper has taken a variety of sources of information and combined these reports and data into a format that will keep you informed on real estate trends. Read the press release below for more information.

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WLA – Wireless Landlord Association – Free Resource for Wirelss Landlords

My husband’s uncle iw a wireless tower landlord. He allowed a cell phone tower to be erected on his property and each month he gets paid rent from cell phone companies for that. So far he hasn’t had any troubles, but he was glad when I told him that there is a Wireless Landlord Association(WLA) that can help protect his rights and provide him with information.
And you don’t have to be a current wireless landlord, if you are contemplating going that route, WLA can help you with that as well. WLA’s team of experienced industry experts and legal professionals serves as a powerful resource for individual landlords.
If you are having difficulties working out contracts with any of the cell phone tower companies, be sure to check with Wireless Land Association for tips and information. Associate membership is free. If you sign up for associate membership you will receive site promotion, the wireless industry newsletter, and a detailed blue book report.
If you opt for the premier membership (cost is 5% of your monthly rentals), then you will be able to access other benefits including wireless lease audit and appraisal, nad rent continuation. And there are other services they can assist you with for additional fees.

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Can You See The Big Picture for Your Corporation?

If you have a large company, keeping up with all of the ins and outs of it can be more than a bit demanding. Do you know if your personnel is placed in the most strategic job slot? Do you know if your budget is going to handle the overtime, or would it be cheaper to bring in more personnel? Would you like a detailed analysis of what your various departments are doing (from an objective standpoint?) Is your company organized in the most efficient way possible?
In the corporate world, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees. My husband has worked for a variety of corporations over the years and time and time again, he has been amazed how little communication there is between different departments, even when they are working on the same project. Departments tend to get tied up in their own project and neglect how there component fits into the bigger picture.
If you need to evalutate your corporate performance management, you should consider PROPHIX. PROPHIX delivers budgeting, forecasting, reporting, consolidation, personnel planning and other financial functions in a single solution. PROPHIX’s ease of use and minimal IT involvement provide the benefit of rapid implementation and a lower total cost of ownership.
Figure out your company’s strengths and weaknesses today and lead it into a more profitable and efficient structure tomorrow. .